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IHRDC Releases Report: Covert Terror

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 24, 2009

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT - The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) has released a report that exposes the clandestine and illegal activities of parallel intelligence organizations that operated in Iran during the Presidency of Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2004. Known collectively as nahadhayih ittila’atiyih movazi, or Parallel Intelligence Apparatus (PIA), the illegal groups were linked to numerous government agencies including the Judiciary but operated completely outside the law. They were used by the conservative establishment to maintain control over the levers of state during the reformist period of Mr. Khatami’s presidency.

PIA agents were responsible for the intimidation and silencing of reformists, political dissidents and critics of the conservative establishment. Their primary targets were journalists, student activists and other civil society activists. Victims were detained in facilities outside the control of the State Prison Office. Some facilities were known at the time, others came to light only after the fact and still others undoubtedly remain secret. Victims were detained, brutally interrogated and subjected to lengthy periods of solitary confinement. They continued to be harassed after release from prison.

Charged with such crimes as attempted disruption of national security, spying, espionage and providing information to foreigners, and offending and insulting the authorities, victims were often released only after agreeing to provide coerced “confessions” that were scripted and taped by the PIA agents to be broadcast in the state-controlled media. The coerced confessions were often obtained under judicial supervision.

“The full extent of these covert activities has remained largely unknown both in Iran and the rest of the world,” said Renee C. Redman, Executive Director of the Center. “We hope this Report will go a long way towards exposing these atrocities. “We also hope that they will not be repeated.”

The Center’s seventy page report includes a description of the political atmosphere surrounding the rise of the Parallel Intelligence Apparatus, as well as an in-depth factual record and legal analysis of their unlawful activities. The factual record includes comprehensive statements by victims recounting their experiences from arrest, during detention, and following release from prison.

Covert Terror: Iran’s Parallel Intelligence Apparatus is available in English on IHRDC’s website www.iranhrdc.org. A Farsi translation of the report will be available this spring. The IHRDC is a nonprofit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut that was founded in 2004 by a group of human rights scholars, activists, and historians. Its staff of human rights lawyers and researchers produce comprehensive and detailed reports on the human rights situation in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The Center’s goal is to encourage an informed dialogue among scholars and the general public in both Iran and abroad. The human rights reports and an archive of documents are available to the public for research and educational purposes on the Center’s website.

For further information, please contact: Renee C. Redman, IHRDC Executive Director, (203) 772-2218 Ext. 215 rredman@iranhrdc.org

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